The Shropshire Shuffler - A\W 2015

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A\W 2015 Issue

FEATURES: The Paris Marathon

The accidental runner does the Paris Marathon! 4

Empire Ankar Wat

Paul and Susan do the Empire Ankar Wat Marathon in 8

Man V Mountain

Norman looks back on the Snowdon ‘Man vs Mountain’ 12

Keith Ivison Memorial Parkrun

Shufflers take over at the Keith Ivison Memorial 15

A Half Marathon a Month

Nicola Cooke talks us through her 16

Emma Talks Marathons

...and the Shuffler’s legendary love of cake! 20

The Co




“Chris Ivison and Chris Purcell present a cheque of £561.34 to Severn Hospice, raised at the Keith Ivison Memorial Parkrun.” wsbury

y, Shre e Quarr


more information on page 15 . . .

“COLD SHUFFLERS! Chris Purcell, Emma Humphreys and Lee Pearce take a pause for a selfie during the Coastal Canter in Anglesey”



“Emma Humphreys and Ian Ford cross the famous bridge during the Ironbridge Half Marathon 2015” ge


A N Other, Annabel Hodgson, Tim Jones, Libby Collinson & Bruce Blackman

Five of the fast group end their hill effort up the Column!”

the SHUFFLERS online:

#ShropshireShufflers TAG YOUR PHOTOS!

“This is just ridiculous!

Chat from the chair... Hi Shufflers, Well the Summer has been a bit of a damp squib but I hope you all managed to avoid the showers at some point and enjoy your running out and about in Shropshire and beyond. It sprung to mind recently how lucky we are living in Shropshire, there is such a wealth of variation where we can run, cycle, swim or walk. From the beautiful hills of Church Stretton on our doorstep to road running along river paths, canals and countryside. We have the Park Run every weekend, cycling clubs such as Mid Shropshire Wheelers and Shrewsbury Tri Club offering all disciplines and the Quarry Swimming Centre. Our own club offers running for all abilities and now has a membership of over 500 which is really amazing, but its great to know there is an alternative if you are injured or just fancy a change. This weekend alone on our Facebook page saw Shufflers taking part in the Shrewsbury Triathlon, fell races and road races, we are a really diverse club and a club to be proud of. One of the problems with having a large membership though is that we have occasional bogus runners amongst us, people who are not members but come along to our sessions and run for free! Lets face it, a membership of ÂŁ15 per year is ÂŁ1.25 PER MONTH and for this members get 2 coached sessions per week, access to a track session, and subsidised food at alternative runs throughout the year, its an absolute bargain. So if anyone hears about anyone running with us who are not members please do let a coach or committee member know so that we can deal with it. The alternative runs this Summer have once again proved to be very popular with over 80 people coming to some nights. A great deal of work goes into organising the routes and planning food etc so a big thank you to all of those who organised a route this year. Congratulations to all the new beginners who completed their 10k in late August I hope you manage to continue running and not let the dark nights put you off! Thank you once again to Martin, Carol and Graham for getting the beginners through the course. I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the annual Shufflers Dinner and awards evening which will take place at the Lord Hill in November. More details are in the magazine. Finally with the autumn nights approaching - the usual message to remember to wear your light clothing /reflective jackets preferably yellow. Be safe be seen. Liz Hird Chair


“Bet Helen and Bill didn’t look this good at the end!”

The Accidental Runner does...

The Paris Marathon! Y

es, an actual real marathon; 26.2 miles or 42.195 km. The first person to take responsibility for this bizarre turn of events has to be Emma Sheekey, otherwise known in our house as “Paris Marathon Emma”, (everyone has a name in our house; “Suntan strawberry man”, “thumbs up Chris”, “punchy Jo”, to name but a few), yes I’m digressing. It was Paris Emma’s fault, she planted that little seed with her carefully placed little nuggets ; “its a lovely way to see the city”, “the goody bag is great”, “there’s even wine at the finish”,”you could have a romantic weekend there whilst taking part”. I think it was the last one that swung it, then 4

I made the fatal mistake of talking to people about it, which suddenly turns a “I’m thinking about possibly trying to do a marathon before my next significant birthday” into “Oh gosh lets book the Eurostar tonight!”. So this leads me to my next witness to take the stand.... Bill Cork, some might call it encouragement, some might call it cajoling, some might call it filling in the online form and then mentioning it in passing a few days later, either way suddenly I was actually doing it rather than just considering it, then prevaricating for the next two years (my preferred option).

Would I do another Marathon? Oh no definitely not, well probably not, well I guess there’s a possibility... So then the bogging training starts for real, it was all very sensible ; shufflers Monday, Wednesday, then long runs gradually building up on a Saturday morning. Looks do- able on the calendar, sounds do- able when you discuss it with friends and family, but then the problem is you actually have to go out there and physically do it, then it gets hard. To be fair, Bill was amazing he ran pretty much every step beside me of both the training and the event, he planned routes, ordered trainers, booked hotels, sourced nutrition, carried water, etc etc etc, but actually what he did best was to figure out the most cunning ways to trick me and my lack of confidence in my own abilities; into completing the training. Top tips from Bill are:

I found really difficult was the anxiety build up before the event, I felt like I had a major operation hanging over my head; I couldn’t walk too far, eat too much, eat too little, drink too much, stay up too late, take in the sights, by Saturday evening I was in floods of tears as my inner chimp training fell apart (see Prof Steve Peter’s “The Chimp Paradox”), I just needed to believe in myself and get started on it. I won’t bore you with the actual run;a brief synopsis; beautiful sunshine, juiciest oranges ever, one loo for 5,000 runners in start pen, music and bands everywhere, disco underpasses, hunky french fireman’s hoses to run through and at the end the bestest lamb chops in the entire known universe. Would I do another Marathon?Oh no definitely not, well probably not, well I guess there’s a possibility, “oh “ says Bill, with an evil glint in his eye; “we are going to New Zealand in March, there’s bound to be a great marathon there.” And so it starts......

Helen Grimme

- don’t tell her about the hills until she’s half way up them - don’t try to jolly her up at mile 16 when she has a cob on her - don’t tell her the mileage until you are over half way through the run even when she keeps asking - offer her yellow (burp inducing) sweets every 4 miles

The Paris Marathon in numbers: 54,000: total registered 1,744,425: total number of kilometers run by the competitors in 2014, equals 2 travels from the Earth to the Moon 42% of the competitors come from abroad 41: average age of men

- praise her for at least 5 hours post run

40: average age of women

- buy her bountiful cakes post run

358,000 euros collected at the Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris for charity

Then the event... Eurostar, was brilliant, B and B very french, expo exciting, food delicious, blah blah blah. However the bit

149 nationalities represented (1: France, 2: United Kingdom, 3: USA)


Pen Portrait with new committee member


t school in Belfast (when dinosaurs still roamed the earth!) I ran the mile and 1/2 mile (that ages me!).

After many, many, many years away from athletics I returned to running at the age of 59 and joined Shropshire Shufflers. I was told that the Shufflers was a friendly Club and that has definitely proven to be the case. I was relieved to hear that the Shufflers welcomed folks of any ability. Although there are folks who rocket around the runs like human greyhounds, the Club and it’s super coaches also cater for people such as myself who simply enjoy running, or indeed walking. I live in Ludlow and a 60 mile round journey simply makes travelling to Shrewsbury multiple times a week impractical but I do go to the excellent training sessions held by Martin Ottey at the SCAT track on Thursday evenings. I also support the Shrewsbury parkrun on Saturday mornings. I admire the folks who run so quickly and such long distances. But I also really applaud those people who aren’t so fast but turn out for Shuffler and Shrewsbury parkrun events week after week and in so doing improve, not only their running abilities, but their health and fitness. I had been in the Club for a number of years and all that I had contributed was my annual subscription (which isn’t very costly) so, along with other colleagues, I responded to a request for members to volunteer. Earlier in 2015 I was extremely proud to be appointed to the Club Committee and at the meeting of the Committee held in July I didn’t duck quickly enough and took on the Press Officer role. I think that it is really good that our membership numbers continue to grow … it is a great testament to everyone who helps out in the Club and for the welcoming attitude of fellow runners alike... Personally …. I like running and I even, perhaps sadly, enjoy training runs! I must admit to having a competitive streak in me and since returning to running with the Shufflers I have run the London Marathon, several 1/2 Marathons (including this year’s Shrewsbury 1/2 Marathon which wasn’t quite a 1/2 Marathon !) and many 10km and 5km runs. My aim, as the years catch up with me, is to keep running as long as I can and try my hardest to keep my race times from deteriorating! There are many “senior” (in age) runners in the Shufflers that I admire and seeing them perform is a constant inspiration to me.

Steve Price 6

Steve Price

The Shropshire Shuffler, now available in Japan! The Shropshire Shuffler magazine makes a n international appearence in Japan; photographed outside Tokyo Station (right) and The Imperial Palace (below); both p assed by during the Tokyo Marathon.

Technology is great, but don’t let it stop you enjoying this wonderfully primal activity. All you need to run is some decent shoes, a pair of shorts and a vest. GE

The start...


t seemed like too good an opportunity to miss - we were going on holiday to Asia and as seems the norm we searched and found the Empire Ankor Wat marathon / half marathon and 10km that coincided with our holiday dates. Susan entered the half and I was torn between doing the half or full. One factor was a 4:30am start time for the marathon compared to more time in bed for the half which started at 6pm. The different start times meant all the runners came back into the finish at roughly the same time. Feeling reckless I entered the full marathon gulp what had I done? We arrived in Siem Reap, Cambodia where the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ankor Wat is situated a couple of days before the event and picked up our race numbers somehow when entering my details online I had managed to register myself as Paul Paul much to Susan’s amusement. We arranged our own transport from hotel and is normal in Asia we haggled a price for a tuk tuk to take me to the race start at 3:30am then return and take Susan later on then wait for us to finish. $15 was the price and our driver was brilliant there on time at the hotel and finish.


Empire Ankar Wat Marathon So alarm went off at 3 am not the best preparation for a long race since I was unable to eat anything after getting up. Bleary eyed I left the hotel in my shufflers vest and headed to the start in the tuk tuk - it was still dark and I was starting to question my sanity. I was dropped off and stumbled through the darkness following other runners to the start area. The start / finish was just outside the main iconic Ankor Wat temple and moat. A few words were said by dignitaries and then we were off. The marathon route heads back into town along sparsely lit roads that we well tarmaced. My intention was to start slow and just enjoy the race however the darkness meant it was hard for me to follow the pace on my watch so I probably went off in a group a bit too fast at 3:20 finish pace I blame that red mist again.

The Half Marathon runners.

We ran through town with some of the locals watching us. Roads were not closed off although drivers were pretty considerate - tuk tuks and motorbikes kept a safe distance. I knew at this stage of the route we were just eating up miles the real views come in the second half when we rejoined the half marathon runners to run together. I was not disappointed. I was making good progress and at around the 15km point the sun started to rise. The sound of roosters / chicada and frogs all made up the dawn chorus.


The conditions were tough but the experience was priceless. It was at the 20km point the conditions started to take their toll on me. I had felt heavy legged for most of the race but now I was starting to struggle. I stopped at the next water station, they were positioned every 2km, ate a banana and stretched before carrying on. I knew it was going to be a long day on the legs and how the conditions affected me was always going to be one of those unknown factors. I still had over half of the race to complete. What kept me going was the scenery you were running with views of paddy fields, the ancient temples dotted along the course and we passed through small villages. These villages always had everyone out shouting encouragement. Since by now my finish time was less important than the time I had while running I played up to the crowd - pulling faces, slow motion running and high 5’s with the school children who lined the route. There were lots of bemused faces of people who could not comprehend why anyone would pay to put themselves through this.

Normally at races you see all the discarded water bottles that would then be collected by a volunteer but here you did not need to worry about litter there were an army of children there collecting the empty bottles because they could get a refund on each one. I struggled round not knowing if I would see Susan during the run in. I expected her to be ahead of me after my walk / run. At the latter stages we were running past the temples that were dotted around the countryside. One of these temples, Ta Prohm, was used in the Tomb Raider film and has the iconic trees growing through the ruins. I have never seen so many people running with selfie sticks and stopping taking pictures during the race. I think I managed to photobomb a few of them with my Shufflers vest on. The last few km’s I knuckled down and ran without stopping I crossed the line in just over 4 hours. The conditions were tough but the experience was priceless.

Paul Bowes the finish!

Interview with

Paul and Susan

on the next page.............. 9

Liz Hird talks to...

Paul and Susan Paul and Susan are prolific racers! So much so it was very difficult for us to plan a meeting to do this interview, so we ended up having our chat over a cuppa after the end of the final race in the Sexarathon series at Harper Adams University!

L: When/why did you start running Paul? P: I have a very stressful job and I needed to

do something that would give me some down time. I had done a bit of orienteering/running when I was at University some years before but nothing since then. I heard about the Shufflers and that was it, I came along and joined in. S: I was working in Angkor Cambodia and my

friend had bought a running machine which she didn’t know how to set up, I helped her and got on it and ran my first 5K. After that I started running around the lakes and parks and absolutely loved it. I came to Shrewsbury in July 2011 and joined the Shufflers a year or so after that.

S: The Eastridge trail half this year, it was

really tough. ( L: I can vouch for that! ) L: Favourite distance?

P: Half marathon but funnily enough I get my

best times for my age at 5k distance.

S: Half marathon also, I have entered the

Welsh Trail Half next year which will be a big challenge. L: What are your aims for the future? S: Ive done a sub 2hr half marathon so a sub

50 min 10k and a sub 25 min 5k would be great. P: I would like to do a sub 3 half marathon.

(L: I know both Paul and Susan have been chipping away at these targets and are not far off so wouldn’t be surprised to see them achieve their aims next year).

much the same.

L: Paul and Susan you are also founders and director of the Shrewsbury Parkrun. We must mention Parkrun - what a massive achievement on both your parts and a great success story.

S: I had always done just road running so it

P: We just felt it was something that needed

L: I know you like to do off road and road Paul, any preference? P: No, I really enjoy both road and off road

was a big step for me to do fell running, I never thought I would. But I bought the fell shoes and entered the Summer Fell series and really enjoyed them. (Blame Emma Boultwood she persuaded me to take part). L: You have done a huge amount of races over the years have you a favourite race or run? S: I still think my favourite runs were ones I

did in Cambodia.

P: My favourite race is the Yorkshire 3 peaks

I did 2 years ago, it was one of the toughest and biggest challenges I have done but a very satisfying achievement to complete it. 10

L: Susan what has been your biggest challenge so far?

doing so we took the bull by the horns and got on with it. S: Its unbelievable there are 5000 people now

registered its great to see all ages, all abilities from the running community turning up every Saturday to join in and its all free!

L: Thank you Paul and Susan for chatting to me, I’m sure there is a lot more to add but Im sure all Shufflers will wish you well in achieving your aims in the future.

Liz Hird

TOUR D’ARTS ALIVE It’s a question I often ask myself with increasing frequency as I get older, “Where do old Runners go?” Well I think I may have found out. I entered the Tour D’arts Alive cycle sportive tour starting from Clun in aid of Flicks in the Sticks and other rural charities and whilst in the queue to register the person taking our details said you all seem to know one another, “Yes” one said “we are all clapped out runners” Most of them were familiar faces from the Potter, South Shropshire Circular, Long Mynd Hike and similar events. I did the seventy mile route which took us north through Bishops Castle to Chuchstoke and on to Priest Weston to the first tea stop. Then it was straight up PW bank, a killer, I walked, Pride was a thing I had once but have now long forgotten. From the top it was down to White Grit then two more tough climbs over Stiperstones and Long Mynd for a second stop at All Stretton. Then we

The Ultra-Trial du Mont-Blanc: Kate Whitfield

Cycle Sportive Tour

headed south to Little Stretton and on through Edgeton to Aston on Clun for a final stop at the local Steam Fair. From here it was through Bucknell, Chapel Lawn and a final big climb before dropping back in to Clun. I passed through the finishing arch made out of old bike bits in exactly six hours to be greeted by the organiser to say I had won a prize as the oldest bloke to finish. “ Would you hang about till the prize presentation” to which I agreed as I was helping my son who was doing the catering. I was presented my prize of a book about bikes by a chap in wellies and shorts and a viking type helmet who swore me in with a sword of light. I’ve heard about folk from Clun but I never thought they were this bad. Whilst we were all out on the roads there was a family fun day providing bike themed entertainment. Alan Morris

Three years ago one of our members entered the Long Mynd Hike and then worried that she couldn’t do it, until on the day she breezed round it in under twelve hours and promptly declared that she wanted to be an Ultra runner. Since then she has quietly built up her distance and completed many ultra events to gain qualification points to achieve her new ambition. The UTMB, the Ultra-Trial du Mont-Blanc, this is a circumnavigation of Mont Blanc in France starting and finishing in Chamonix and comprising about 100 miles of trail and including 33,000 feet of climbing (more than Everest) rising up several cols to over 8000feet altitude. This year at the end of August Kate Whitfield completed this event despite taking a fall at about 75 miles where the Medics all but pulled her out. She persuaded them that she had sufficient time to walk the remainder, and although she dropped a lot of places she completed with four hours of the 47 hour time limit to spare. A tremendous achievement leaving mere mortals like me in awe. Unfortunately Kate will soon be lost to the club, as she is taking up a new job in Bath in September. We wish her well for the future in her new job and her ultra running, I think she has already gone from the never again to well maybe.

Kate at the UTMB finish.

Alan Morris 11


f like me you have the misfortune to live next door to the kind of person that occasionally has a rush of blood to the head and who finds crazy new challenges that he manages to persuade you that it would be a really good idea if you join in with, firstly you will understand my predicament and secondly the importance of learning to say no, a skill that I have yet to learn as this tale will show.

At the end of last year, shortly after completing the Longmynd hike, I had mentioned to Dave Perry that I was looking around for something to do this autumn other than the hike. Some little time later I was in my garden when a head popped up over the wall and announced that he had found a really good event for us to do in September, it was a run up Snowdon, followed by a one Km vertical (not literally) time trial, 250m abseil, a swim and a few obstacles to finish up with. Strangely with 10 months to go it seemed like a really good idea even though one of us gets vertigo and has never abseiled before and the other has a thing about jumping into water that isn’t contained in a swimming pool! So that is how the both of us managed to enter “Man Vs Mountain” an event organised by Rat Race.


As time went on my doubts about the wisdom of taking part in this event began to grow and were compounded by a niggling injury that just wouldn’t go away, eventually it was too late to pull out and get my money back and the injuries had settled down a little, so I decided that I would go and do the event even though I had only been swimming and riding my bike for five - six weeks before and had not seriously run at all during this time. Friday the 4th September arrived and the car was packed. Dave and I set of for Llanberris to register. The journey to North Wales was uneventful and the weather good, the forecast for Saturday also good, as always with Rat Race events, registration was well organised and everything was sorted ready for the next day, so it was back in the car and up Pen y pass to the youth Hostel for the night. As we sat in the bar of the hostel (Drinking coffee) the weather closed in and it rained and rained, in fact it rained all night and at 5,0clock in the morning as we tried to get dressed in the dark without waking the other guys in the dormitory the wind was howling and the rain still rattling down, things did not bode well for running up mountains! After a pot of porridge and a coffee, we set off to Llanberis and the bus that would take us to Caernarfon and the Start of the day’s adventure. Caernarfon was cold and grey but at least the rain had stopped and looking out over the sea the sky definitely had some blue bits beginning to show, 8 o’clock soon came around and after a short briefing from the organisers we were on our way, the first five miles were on hard roads and

gently up hill, on arriving at the little village of Waunfawr the lane got smaller and much steeper, eventually turning into a rough tack, the sun was out now and the running was good, along the edge of the mountain, going down towards Llanberis, at 8 miles we arrived at the first feeding station, after a biscuit and some water it was on along the path, still going downwards, the Snowdon light railway could be seen. The path now starts to turn away from Llanberis back towards the mountain gently rising at first and then more steeply until it reaches the brow of a small hill and then a lovely downhill to a trail that turns left and where you get a view of the Mountain in its full glory and where it hits you just how hard the next couple of miles are going to be. The trail climbs relentlessly getting steeper and steeper with each step. There are, however, rewards for all of the pain, the views from this path are truly magnificent and for those who do photography well worth a brief rest and photo stop. The checkpoint for the race is just above the cafe and train stop but just below the summit, however just about everyone struggled up the extra few meters to the true summit before turning back and heading back to Llanberis and the obstacles at Dinorwic Quarry, there is a sting in the tail here, after dreaming of running down hill for the last 13 miles, the built path is very hard on the feet and legs and a lot of care is needed not to trip. After negotiating the rocks and the thousands of walkers trekking up the main path, we arrived at the 17 mile drinks station and then on down a small road and onto a small muddy track through to the road and bag drop in Llanberis. Having left everything that couldn’t get wet, its on to the vertical kilometre time trial, this is a truly cruel and unusual form of torture, once on the route which goes straight up the side of Dinorwic, with steps that are designed to stretch the longest legs and which miraculously expends to be at least 10Km before you get to the end. After that piece of torture its on and on and on…. To the abseil, at this point I have to admit to feeling so out of it, with a numb face, fingers and arms due to having left my last gel in the bag at the bag drop, I did decide not to do the abseil, having never done it before and not being good at heights, so I took the easy route down the side of the abseil. At this point I could just about put one foot in front of the other with the odd stagger for good measure, I eventually got across the car park to the entry to the first water obstacle, here you are provided with a life jacket and then its down a narrow path into a small quarry area with a pool in it and a large scaffolding rig which has to be climbed and then there are three planks, one of which you have to walk! It looks a long way down to the water, but with a couple of attempts and a lot of encouragement from the marshals and the on lookers it’s a step

into the abyss a very big splash and oh my lord that wakes you up! A short swim to a rescue marshal in a canoe who smiles and tells you you have to dive down and through a metal gate to get out, again after a couple of attempts I managed to get through, then its up some steps back to the entrance and leave the life jacket then cold and dripping its through the car park to the edge of a lake where the next obstacle is a dive under two floating barriers, lake bottom is very rocky and slippery so the biggest challenge here is standing up, now around the corner and back into the lake to crawl over some floating inner-tubes with a very short swim and another scramble out of the lake with a short run to the water slide, which really is fun, and then a swim to the other side of the lake, out again and another short run to another bit of the lake, where the river runs into it, here all you have to do is swim across about twenty five meters, simple! But this is the coldest bit of water this side of the Arctic circle. Now the end is in site but it ‘s not that simple, firstly there are two seven foot boards to climb over, for all the use I was at getting over them they might as well have been twenty foot tall! however thanks to the two guys following me giving me a good shove I scrambled over and then its a rope haul up a very slippery ramp a jump off the top and across the finish line. So to sum up the experience, was it tough? Oh Yes! Was it fun? Strangely yes and would I do it again? Yes I would, but only with a lot more preparation than I had this time. And as for the others, Dave had to drop out before the vertical kilometer due to extreme cramp and Ashley and Ted both completed every part of the event. I thought my neighbour was bad enough, just glad I don’t live next to Dave. Norman Titley

Ashley Vaughan-Evans, Norman Titley, Ted Youngman and David Perry


Who’s who?

We talk to Nick Hardman Which group do I run in...

Improvers, I used to run regularly with intermediates but since my knee operation last year I stick to Improvers. Why did I join...

Sad story. A friend if mine died of heart failure whilst at work and so it gave me a huge wake up call to get fitter. He still gives me inspiration on long runs. My favourite race...

Oh let me think ! The Great North Run easily. This year will be my 7th consecutive year of this race. I love the area, the people and the atmosphere of the race, nothing else even comes close for me. Greatest running achievement...

I always wanted to be able to say I’ve run a marathon, I can actually say I’ve run two. Chester and London. Warm or cold weather...

I love running in the cold and dark with hail hitting your face, makes you feel so alive. Looking forward to the winter runs. Shoes...

I stick to sauconys and they seem to suit my running style. I have to have a cushioned shoe as I have different gaits on each leg after my knee operation ! Tea or coffee...

COFFEE, what’s Tea ? Sweet or savoury......

Both! I love food of all types, I have a very sweet tooth but my favourite food has to be Cheese. Where would I like to visit...

Iceland, I love bleak landscapes so would love to visit the lava fields. 14


Nick Hardman Occupation:

Retail Manager Time with The Shufflers:

About 4 years 3 FACTS ABOUT ME... (2 real, 1 made up!)

I used to compete in canoe championships for the under 16’s I hate flying but have “wing walked” - that’s standing on top of a bi plane in the air ! I am related to Lee Mac (famous comedian)

Shufflers take over at the Keith Ivison Memorial Parkrun

was some great running, some impressive times recorded, and if you did manage a PB this week, well done but a massive well done to all 287 runners who took part.


ell the weather in the lead to the Saturday was grim, rainy day followed by rainy day, but thankfully Saturday morning arrived to dry and sunny(ish) weather and all looking good for the Shropshire Shufflers take-over and Keith Ivison memorial parkrun. With the usual pre-event setup completed, the volunteers helped with the extra task of setting up the cake stall and what a cake stall it was. Sweet treats for the Shufflers!

The Shuffler pacers in the quarry.

A big thank you to our fantastic Shropshire Shufflers pacers / volunteers and to Colin and Lindy for the photos. Tremendous generosity and kindheartedness was on show with the buying of cakes and the giving of donations at the finish and I pleased to say that we managed to raise a huge £561.34, presented to the Severn Hospice the week later. Here’s to next year’s KI memorial parkrun.

So off to the start we headed with more cake arriving for the stall. The start was a tad cozy I would suggest as work was still in progress putting up the marque at the top of the Quarry - but it make for a great starting funnel!. 9 o’clock edged closer, and with safety briefing done, volunteers and pacers thanked, tourist and first timers welcomed it was time to show our appreciation to a founding member of the club with the most fantastic round of applause for Keith.

Chris Purcell

Chris Purcell, Chris Ivison and Paul Bowes

The St. Chad’s bells rang out letting us know it’s time to unleash the runners, and so with a final count down and a blast of the air horn a wave of red, white and blue clad runners went off heading towards the downhill section of the course. Some fast, some a little slower but all running with perhaps a PB in mind, perhaps completing the run for the first time or after recovering from injury or maybe in this case simply getting to the cake stall first! With support from our superb marshals there 15

A Half Marathon a Month Sponsor Nicola here:


few mums from school were doing an advent run throughout the month. Francesca invited me along to the Christmas Eve run. I would not even of considered it had I not upped my fitness over the last 6 months and also lost 3st with the help of a personal trainer. So off I joined them for the run. We did 2 miles and it nearly killed me. A week later on New Year’s Eve we did the same again. A few days later I did my first ever Parkrun and without walking too, I was delighted. I then continued to join the girls running longer distances through the cold January nights. I set myself a target to do 10k by my 42nd birthday on March 18th! I managed to cover the distance on an evening run with the girls. Francesca suggested I enter a race in March and she found us a 10k on the 1st of March at Almely near Leominster. Also in February we all signed up for Royal Parks Half Marathon in October that was to be my target for the year! The days before the 10k both Francesca and my husband were helping prepare me for the larger crowd racing. I did say that Parkrun was great in helping prepare for it. Well how we laughed on the day. There were only about 30 runners on the day, including the 3 of us, Francesca, Clare and myself, and how great did I feel not being last. I did it, and got my first Medal! Just before the 10k my friend Amy mentioned that she had to pull out of a race and offered me her place. It was to Hampton Court Palace Half Marathon on March 29th. If I did the 10k then I’d work hard all March to get ready for it, so I went for it. A slight knee injury and then calf strain slowed my training.

Nicola’s first run!


Purchasing the correct trainers and compression socks helped along with rest, massage and the dreaded foam roller! But I managed to up my distance to 10 miles the week before, it was slow but I did it. So off we went, myself and Francesca to Hampton court Palace. Wow what a day it was. Such a beautiful setting but a cool rainy day. By this time I had joined the Shufflers and so this was my first race in a Shufflers Vest. And I did it, I ran/jogged/shuffled the whole way but I didn’t walk! Francesca crossed the line way ahead of me and was there waiting for me, and spurred me on to the finish line! I competed it in just under 2hrs 39mins. The time didn’t matter, just to finish was a wonderful feeling. Just a week and a half later I did the first of the Sexarathon races. And I got a PB for my 5k distance. It felt great. The next day Francesca asked me to join her at the weekend to Belvoir Half Marathon as her last long run before London Marathon! So yes I agreed to it again!

Francesca in the London Marathon

Just 2 weeks after my first half marathon I was doing my next one. This time it was a chilly windy morning. A lovely and pretty much flat route until the winds picked up blowing me across the road and making the banks feel like they were almost impossible hills as it blew against us. It was at this time I did stop and walk up the hill, it felt easier to march up than to try and run it. For the last couple of miles the wind was behind us helping us along, that was a nice feeling. This time I crossed the finish line in just under 2hrs 35mins. So, to enter Royal Parks I chose to run for a charity. I chose Parkinson’s UK as my sister-in-law has suffered and lived with this condition for over 10 years after being diagnosed with it at the age of 40. I needed to raise £400 to take part. My problem was - will

people sponsor me now that I have completed the distance already? So I thought I needed to up my game. I came up with the idea of doing a half marathon a month from March to October!! I then chose to add another Charity to my fundraising page. I wanted to add Severn Hospice, as well as being a great well deserving local charity. It had also recently accommodated my uncle in his last few days, and his wife still attends meetings there now, she has found it very helpful. So now I had to plan my future half’s. My group of friends had already signed up to the Shin Dig in the Shire in May, and I was able to get a place from fellow Shuffler Julie when she had to pull out of the race. I hadn’t realised it was off road. I then signed up for our local race being the Shrewsbury Half for June. Just a week before the Shin Dig I discovered it had a high climb too. I had already come to realise I am better on the road. So I really wasn’t looking forward to it. I didn’t want anything to jeopardize the Shrewsbury race. The local one means a lot. Before the race two of the ladies had to back out, leaving just myself and Eleanor. So off we went and did it. It was hard work, very muddy and the climbing was that steep it involved virtually getting on our hands and knees. It was also very slow; it did involve a lot of walking. But we had fun! So now onto training again for Shrewsbury and finding other races. July was Chirk castle, and was looking for an August race but I am also on holiday so I may end up doing a run on my own. September is Lake Vyrnwy. Ending with Royal Parks in October. The races are all booked I just need to fundraise and train in between. I have continued to attend the local Shrewsbury Parkrun before going to work on a Saturday, volunteering on occasions too. I have been a pace setter at 34 & 33 mins, it’s such a great feeling helping others to their PB’s. Over the last few months I have managed to knock 6 minutes off my Parkrun time with my fastest at the moment being just over 32 minutes. I had prepared well, the Sexarathon races had helped get my speed up and so I was feeling good about Shrewsbury half, I hoped I might even get under 2hrs 30mins! But people were telling me it was a hard race! In the very last hours before the race Francesca had to back out, so I faced it on my own. I gave a neighbour a lift in so I wasn’t

on my own in the end, but when you’re a Shuffler you never seem to be on your own. Walking to the show ground we came across a few Shufflers and once there it was great to see so many Shuffler shirts! My family were going to be popping up around the course as well as friends too.

It was a great atmosphere; running through the town was great, so many supporters cheering us all on. “Well done Shuffler’’, ‘’ keep going Shuffler’’, ‘’you can do it Shuffler” along with “come on Nikki!” It all helped so much, so a huge thank you to all of you that were there supporting and cheering us all on. For me it was the hardest road run yet. The hills seemed never ending, but the cheering and the “Cowbells” helped keep me going. With about 4k to go I was trying to work out if I could finish before 2hrs 30. My calculations were telling me no not quite, but I kept plodding on. Then I saw the 12 mile marker and then could see I had got enough time to get in under my goal. It was hard work back on the show ground with loose stone and grass, but with the finish line in sight I pushed on crossing the line in just over 2hrs28mins. My family were there at the finish line to greet me. It was such a great feeling. I felt quite emotional as my husband, daughter Milli, son Josh and our dog Ember were all there for me. I never gave my GPS watch another thought until people started posting on Facebook that it wasn’t a half. I then looked at my watch to see it said 20.25km when it should have said 21km. My original calculations were right. I do feel disappointed not to of got it within my goal time. But I did find it very hard. So I must just tell myself it was a hard course, well done, and now move on to the next one. I was now half way through my challenge, Chirk Castle was next. That was a little hilly also! I could not of done any of it this year without all the support, encouragement and babysitting from my family and my fabulous running friends that got me out there in the first place. Amy, Eleanor and the amazing Francesca. Joining the Shufflers has been great, I’ve made so many new friends and have found that despite being the slowest Shuffler at many of the races, the support from all the group has been amazing. And I hope one day I may manage to catch up with a few of you!

Nicola’s first 10K medal!

Nicola in the Shrewsbury Half’

Nicola Cooke


Mark Perez talks about...

“Runs wot I’ve enjoyed!”


eautifully clear May mornings lend themselves to running. With this in mind, I woke up after a night of wild camping in one of London’s park woods; with the exception of a pair of inquisitive badgers in the small hours, the night was quiet and uneventful. The challenge for the day would be completion of the 100km London to Brighton Run. Just another in a long line of daft things! This would be my second running of this event, having first dipping my toes into it in 2013. The abiding memory of this was covering the last 15 kilometers at a snail pace; adamant that I would NEVER, under any circumstances whatsoever, attempt such a daft undertaking again. So naturally, two years later, I found myself back at the start line. The motivation had been that I had been disappointed with my time from the first time around. Somethings hurt more than blisters! The advantage of repeating any event is experience - knowledge of the route, what to expect, what kit works, what pace, shoes, socks, water bladder, GPS and so on. Most runners I speak to have favourite events; history gives something to push against, achieving a better time despite (or because of being a year) older. So with this in mind, I knew I was ready

The butterflies of 2013 were well rested and still for once.

Into the starting pen for the obligatory high energy warm up. Words of encouragement from the compere; shaking hands with other runners - first timers and seasoned veterans, charity runners and teams of friends. 6:25am saw the second wave of 25 runners hit the road. A few hundred runners set out early, with waves of walkers departing regularly up to midday. To be honest, the start and finish are pretty vivid; the middle bit blurs somewhat! The first 1km marker is always welcome as legs start


to warm-up and lungs begin to suck. 10km, 25km, 50km, 90km, then 91, 92 up to 99km one by one the markers race/drift/crawl by, reminding you have far you have come and how far is left underfoot. I’m certain there are more meters in those later kilometres than the early ones. 99km sits at the start of Brighton Racecourse, with the final thousand meters on the turf itself, aiming for the music and lights spurring you on. Bubbly, t-shirt and medal await the completion of that final push, into the loving arms of family and friends, plus as much food as you can cram in.

This is my recommendation for any runner wanting to sample an ultra to tick of their bucket list. It is fabulously well-supported. Every kilometre marker is visible, with arrows every 20-30 meters, (it would take a special effort to get lost en route). Along the way, there are four or five major stop points, with massage, huge choices of food, hydration stations and first aid - all included in the entry cost; plus masses of supporters and marshals to lift your spirits. At the end, they set aside a quiet room at the racecourse where runners can sleep and recover. Quite a sight and noise; dozens of sleeping bodies, wrapped up in silver blankets, rustling gently and snoring loudly. After a well-deserved night’s sleep, I climbed into the coach in Brighton centre. Heading back towards London and home, it is quite a surreal experience driving up the road to see lines of walkers, trudging the course that you completed 12 hours before. You have to hand it to them, still going after 24 hours, with miles still to go. Runners get it out of the way in anything from around 9 hours, (OMG, really!) to about 17/18 hours and getting a hot meal and sleep at a reasonable time. continued...

The run is so well supported it should suit any ultra-debut as well as more seasoned competitors; some of the terrain is challenging. Once outside of London, essentially it is a dash south across country using tracks, back lanes and bridleways. Glorious countryside with only two words of warning - stiles, (so many damned stiles) and hill, (big hill at 90km, just before Brighton perfectly placed for tired limbs).

London2Brighton Challenge finish.

I’m happy to have run/jog/wept it in 14 hours, 9 minutes; under the 15 hours that I wanted, the time that I missed in 2013. That became my mantra, like a broken record, in that transition period when the challenge turns from physical to mental. The pain of missing that target outweighed whatever discomfort I was feeling at the time. Under 15 hours whatever the cost! I’ll never be so bloody-minded to do it again; maybe this time I’ll mean it.

Mark Perez

rk a P m a h g n i A tt Relays 2015

The club hosted the 2nd running of the Attingham Park Relays in May. Once again it was completely sold out before the event despite raising the number of teams who could enter. It was a highly successful event with 120 teams of three racing around the 2 mile leg course around Attingham Park. We were very grateful for the sunshine this year after the soaking everyone got last year! Thank you to all Shufflers who volunteered to marshal or who ran, but a special thanks to Brian & Alan Morris without whose expertise with the timing and setting up of the start and finish we wouldn’t be able to run the event. We are very pleased to donate all proceeds from the event this year to the Save Pontesford Hill appeal, an area very well used by Shufflers either running or walking. See you all again next year.

Liz Hird


Emma talks

Marathons ...and cake loading!


hufflers have been spotted at numerous marathons and half marathons around the globe this year Cambodia, Japan, Malta, Iceland, Germany and Spain to name but a few... Oh what a well-travelled bunch of people we are! But I do think it is fair to say that none have generated quite as much interest, shared early morning runs, talks of training regimes, the discussion of to taper, or not to taper and the new shuffler twist on carb loading - ‘cake loading’ and of course ‘troffing’ (see further on for explanation!) As the Liverpool Rock’n’Roll marathon series which took place on 13th and 14th of June. This marathon was special to me in particular as it was my way of ‘celebrating’ my 40th birthday, which had taken place on the 11th June. I had initially entered the half marathon, and was quite happy with my decision, after all I wasn’t stupid enough to put myself through running a marathon... was I? The slippery slope to marathon running started at our annual shufflers dinner last November. I was heading out from the bar (sober I hasten to add) and came across Chris Purcell, so stopped to have a chat. We got onto the topic of marathons and as Chris had run marathons previously I casually asked about the training involved, but also stating that I had no plans to actually run one. A few minutes later the idea of ‘upgrading’ my Liverpool half place to a full marathon place was sown. I went and sat back down at our table and mentioned my conversation to Emma Preston and Ian Ford, but still stating that I was happy with my half place... 5 minutes later I had somehow agreed to ‘upgrade’ to the marathon! The long training runs started in January. 9am on Sunday mornings a group of bleary eyed shufflers would meet - some training for Liverpool, some for Manchester and some who just wanted to have great company on a longer run. I loved these runs, and so enjoyed the company of the ever changing members of our


Sunday group. We gradually built on our miles over the weeks, seeing areas of the town and surrounding areas that many of us had not ventured to before. We experimented with different brands of energy gels, drinks and bars; what worked for one, didn’t for another, or had unwanted side effects! As the marathon day drew nearer talk turned to the gradual tapering of the miles; when to start, what miles to drop to, when to stop - this didn’t go to plan for me as I had taken a hard fall at an event with only four weeks to the marathon, so I had to stop and hobble for a few days, then had a terrible couple of training runs; managed to strain calf and foot on a lonesome training run from hell where an urgent dash to a pub toilet was also needed! So my so called taper was more of a grinding halt! Now it is well known that we Shufflers are partial to a slice of cake or three. In the few days up to the day itself our group messenger page was filled with rather conflicting nutritional suggestions... but the one which seemed to generate most interest was ‘cake loading’ which sounded infinitely more fun than carb loading, and a new one ‘troffing’ which just involved eating lots of everything! A few of the group ventured up to Liverpool a day or two before hand to soak up the atmosphere. I actually started my journey, along with hubby, on the Thursday. We went to Chester for the day and then made our way to Liverpool on the Friday morning, 12th June; the expo had opened, my number and t-shirt collected... M-day was nearly upon us! The Liverpool 5K Medal

Shufflers love of cake is legendary, but this positively pales into insignificance when compared to our love of ‘the bling’. When it was discovered that by entering the Rock’n’Roll 5K race the day before the marathon, you would get an additional two medals as well as your marathon medal, as you can imagine there was quite a Shuffler presence at that race too! I wasn’t running the 5K, but was there to shout shuffler support. The Shufflers who took part

enjoyed it; and the first of the three medals was lovely. We all decided to have a meal out on the Saturday night... let’s just say that organisational skills are not a Shuffler attribute! We wondered rather aimlessly into the city centre trying to hunt food. En-route We lost a couple who went in search of steak, misplaced a couple who were hopping around in need of a wee, but we all managed to find one another and had a nice buffet meal; the last before M-day! Sunday 14th June... M-day! The day we had been working towards for months; blood sweat and tears, along with hundreds of miles behind us, all for the next few hours... were we nervous... hell yes!

every 5 miles - yuck! I wondered how my fellow Shufflers were fairing and hoped I would come across someone; and sadly I did. I say sadly as it was an injured Gary Jones i came across who should have been way ahead and probably finished at that stage. It’s not nice seeing someone you know in pain. I kept on going, stopping along the waterfront to take a picture of a dancing blue elephant - honest! This is when Ian Ford and others past me beckoning me to join them; I was pretty tired, but one doesn’t usually see blue elephants! I kept going and finished in 4 hours 10 mins, or there abouts. It was hard work, but I loved every moment of it! And the bling was well worth it!

Most of us managed to get to the Shuffler photo call. It was agreed that as sytri are cousins of Shufflers, Emma and Steve were also allowed to join in. That was it, no going back now! The half marathon started off earlier, so I had a half hearted warm up then scurried over to the start just in time to spot Nick Hardman starting off; along with a few thousand others! Then came our time; the marathon pens were open. I counted and checked my gels and drink I don’t know how many times, just in case they all mysteriously fell out of my bag! It’s quite funny watching so many other runners going through the same ritual, it was obvious I was not alone in my sudden onset of pre race OCD. There was a real party atmosphere at the start, and as each of the pens were released to start there was shouting and cheering... then off! 26.2 miles lay ahead of us! I knew I should really watch my pace in the first half, but as my brother came Into sight I unintentionally fell into line with him; a touch of sibling rivalry may have kicked in as I ran the first very undulating half in 1:52... whoops! I wanted a sub 4 hour marathon, but after this I thought that was out of my reach so from mile 14 I just enjoyed the experience took a selfie, chatted to other runners, high 5’d children etc. I remember running up Penny Lane with the song of the same name playing loudly, and although I would never describe myself as a Beetles fan, I must say it almost felt surreal.

Shuffler group photo!

I was pleased to see the other Shufflers at the end and to hear about some fabulous running times; not forgetting the free pint of beer! Quite a few have booked for next year - sub 4... you will be mine!

Emma Humphreys

The Liverpool Marathon Medal

I kept up with my walk a little run a bit more progression through the streets of Liverpool. I also kept to my sadistic plan of having a gel 21

Who’s who? We talk to Helen Richardson Which group do I run in...

I run on a Wednesday night only at the moment, with the intermediates I think. Going to join track on Thursdays in September - fast group I think. Why did I join...

I joined to meet others in shrewsbury snd to improve my running and times. My favourite race...

I enjoy 1/2 marathons the most, you get into a good pace. Chester is one of my favourites & you get a fantastic goody bag.


Helen Richardson

Greatest running achievement...

The Liverpool rock and roll marathon.




I have two pairs of shoes which I swap each run, brooks and acisis - brooks are pureflow and my asics are gel-equation Tea or coffee...

Time with The Shufflers:

Joined in October 2014

I like both tea and coffee. I normally drink de-caff if possible. Sweet or savoury......


I have a shoe addiction

Where would I like to visit...

Lots of places I would like to visit, a month in every country if I could afford it, with a race.


3 FACTS ABOUT ME... (2 real, 1 made up!)

I like fast cars I can fly

Join in the conversation on Facebook:

Lead coach Tony Welsby talks: improvement sessions dynamic stretches dynamic warm ups


static stretches

We completed this years improvement sessions with a run on the 17th August in the clubs 10k, well done to all of you for joining in the sessions which I accept were challenging but hopefully enjoyable. Also, a big thanks to all the coaches involved in the improvement sessions and to all the coaches who carried on with taking sessions over the 8 weeks or so during this period. If we continue with the same level of interest we will run a series of improvement sessions again next year but for now its up to you to continue to work on that improvement, try Wednesday sessions and track on a Thursday. Track sessions very often include running drills which should, given time, always form part of an improvement programme. We do appreciate that for most, time is limited with work and family commitments and it is always a balance to get as much running as you can to improve or just to keep fit. A question I am always being asked is on the subject of stretching. Current UK Athletics training involves a dynamic stretch before running and a static stretch after completing your session or race. A dynamic stretch is intended to prepare the body and the mind for the exercise which lies ahead. It is a series of mobility exercises to increase the heart rate, mobilise the hip, knee and ankle joints and to ensure muscles in the upper body are warmed as well. Your core is very important to running so a warm up should include some pelvic exercises. A dynamic warm up, it is a series of drills, will generally start with a steady jog followed by a series of mobility exercises such as high knee walking, high knee jogging, low and high knee skipping, walking lunges, running on the spot and a series of exercises using the upper body and arms such as windmill. Your body is now prepared for running. Towards the end of the session we should always have a gentle cool down jog, this allows the body to start to cool, any acid accumulation to dissipate through the body and to prepare for a static stretch. A static stretch after exercise allows muscles to stretch back into their original state. It is up to the individual how you work in your static stretches but for me I like to start at the feet, gently rocking back and forward heel to toe followed by stretching calf, hamstring, quads, glutes and core. The stretch should not be for more than 12 to 15 seconds, we are not trying to build muscle, only to put it back to where we started. This is only a brief outline, at times can be controversial but works for me. 23

Winter Running - you know you want to! We are lucky in Shropshire we don’t get the massive temperature fluctuations that mainland Europe or the USA gets. Even so, it’s worth remembering a few basic points to keep us running as winter approaches: Enjoy It: You can’t beat a run through a frosty field on a cold crispy winter’s morning. Motivation: Run with a fellow shuffler. Think about that spring or summer marathon. Do some winter races. Keep Safe: Fluorescent clothing, small torch, phone, money and ID. Let somebody know that you are going and how long you are expecting to be. If icy or snowy, don’t do fast sharp turns. It’s very embarrassing (and possibly dangerous) when you fall over. Stay hydrated. You still need liquid when it’s cold. Consider smaller looping runs rather than one where you can get stranded miles from home. Warm Up and Cool Down: Get the blood moving whilst still in the house, not so much that you start to sweat. Start off outside with a walk and build up to your training pace after about 10 minutes. Do your end of run stretching back at home, not in a howling gale or snow storm. If not running from home, keep a change of clothes and a hot drink in the car. Keep Warm: Lots of layers – not one thick one:

- Waterproof windbreaker or shell to protect you from the wind and rain.

- Long sleeved wicking layer

- Running tights

- Hat and gloves. Snoods are good as they can keep your neck and head warm.

- Warm socks and shoes that aren’t too meshy.

Don’t stand about getting cold, keep moving. If there is a particularly strong prevailing wind, run into it to start with have it at your back on the way home. Don’t overdress, although if you are wearing layers, you can always take one off. Afterwards: Get out of cold wet clothes and into snuggly warm ones as soon you can. Don’t stand around in cold wet gear. Stuff your wet shoes with newspaper, don’t put them in the oven or tumble dryer. Reward yourself with whatever is your favourite treat and feel smug that you’ve done it.